Wegmans Approved for Chapel Hill

New store for foodies to bring jobs, strengthen economy and grow commercial tax base

Post Date:10/26/2017 2:00 PM

A Wegmans supermarket is coming to Chapel Hill’s eastern gateway with Wednesday’s (Oct. 25, 2017) approval of the Special Use Permit by the Town Council.

The unanimous vote follows yearlong collaboration with Orange County, engagement with Town of Chapel Hill boards and commissions, broad public input, and negotiations with the developer.

In addition to cementing Chapel Hill’s reputation as a “foodie destination,” the project could bring more than $365,000 in property taxes and up to $1.7 million in sales taxes each year to the Town and County. The Wegmans development will attempt to partner with local, family farms near the store to provide fresh produce in addition to providing local beef, pork and cheese.

“We are pleased with our continuing success to bring more retail to our town and Orange County,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. “This is the result of close collaboration among governments and valuable public input. We welcome Wegmans to our community and look forward to the benefits to come.”

Wegmans has ranked consistently as the country’s best supermarket by Consumer Reports magazine.  Headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., the family-owned company has 91 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts; more than 46,000 employees and $7.9 billion in revenue (2015).

The Town and Orange County agreed in 2016 to provide an economic incentive to bring Wegmans to our community. These incentive payments come from taxes paid by Wegmans. The agreement between the Town and County calls for each government to contribute a maximum amount of $2 million over five years -- if Wegmans meets specific targets for new jobs, and increases in both sales and property tax revenue.

“That agreement is based on performance,” said Town Manager Roger Stancil. “Incentives are paid only after the company meets specific goals in jobs, property tax and sales tax by the Town and County from the project. Goals are annual and achievement of the net-new revenue must be documented.”

Before opening, the developer has agreed to extensive traffic improvements including a roundabout at Old Durham Road and numerous upgrades at five intersections along US 15-501 and Old Durham Road, and to funding $150,000 in improvements along Lakeview Drive and Old Durham Road. 

The redevelopment project is slated to begin in early 2018, and the store could open in 2019.  The project will redistribute sales tax to government entities within Orange County, benefiting all communities.  Area farmers and food producers in Orange County will access a new market via Wegmans.

Development highlights

  • New Wegmans 130,000 sq. ft. store to replace Performance Auto Mall dealership
  • Located at 1810 Fordham Boulevard on a 14.7-acre site
  • Environmental remediation required because of site’s former use as a vehicle servicing station

With the following financial arrangement

  • $30 million in investment in the site by the developer, Leon Capital Group of Dallas
  • Wegmans required to meet annual property and sales tax revenue targets to receive incentives
  • Chapel Hill and Orange County expect an increase of $1.7 million annually in net-new tax revenue derived from sales and property taxes
  • Incentives would not begin until the company has been open and operational for a year
  • Wegmans to create 350 jobs (full-time equivalents)
  • Health insurance benefits must be provided to all full time employees
  • Wegmans would be the largest sales tax generator in Orange County
With the following community benefits
  • Number of jobs created (350)
  • Quality of jobs (including health insurance)
  • Investment to redevelop site ($30 million)
  • New property and sales tax revenues for the Town and County (estimated at $1.7 million annually)
  • Wegmans ranks #4 on FORTUNE Magazine’s 2016 list of “100 Best Companies to Work For”
  • Replacement for Performance AutoMall, a vehicle sales facility
  • Improvements to gateway location to Chapel Hill
  • Proximity to potential light rail stop
  • Regional draw for shoppers
  • Natural fit for epicurean culture, values
  • Wegmans is known for offering an unmatched variety, up to 700 different fruits and vegetables
  • Each store builds strong partnerships with nearby family farms

With the following traffic improvements 

  • Intersection improvements at Fordham Boulevard and Eastowne Drive/Lakeview Drive/Sage Road/Old Durham Road/Scarlett Drive
  • Old Durham Road roundabout
  • Payment-in-lieu of $150,000 for traffic improvements at Lakeview Drive and Old Durham Road  
  • Pedestrian and bicycle amenities (in conjunction with an NCDOT project)
  • Old Durham Road flashing beacons crosswalk
  • Upgraded traffic signals
  • Wayfinding signage
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